Poor packaging setback to Nigerian tomato business
Poor packaging of tomatoes in local baskets made fromcanes is not only affecting their marketability but serves also serves in causing the produce to rot easily, Chairman of Water Users Association and a major tomato farmer at Kadawa irrigation area in Kano State, Alhaji Muazu Datti Yadakwari, has said.
Yadakwari said a large percentage of Nigeria’s tomatoes goes to waste due to poor packaging, noting that while tomatoes in most other African countries, like most developed agriculture nations in the world, are packaged in crates, Nigeria still packages its tomatoes in local baskets.
He lamented that the canesthe baskets are made from pierce through the tomatoes thereby making them to rot easily, adding, “you know, the baskets are usually big and contain a lot of tomatoes. When they press each other, it also helps in making them rot. Our local tomato packaging is not helping us at all.
“We have visited some African countries like Senegal and saw how they package their tomatoes in crates;so neat and attractive.The federal government should intervene by introducing the packagingof tomatoes in crates or special cartons. That way, the market value of the vegetable will appreciate and it will attract buyers.
“We cannot as individual farmers do that except with government support and intervention. Government can design the crates, appoint an industry to produce them and then introduce them to us. That should be part of government’s effort towards enhancing the marketing of tomatoes in the country,” he said.
Some tomato consumers that spoke to Daily Trust said the idea is a welcomed one provided that it will not hike the cost of tomatoes in the market. Hajiya Talatu Hussaini Jalo, a food vendor at Jabi area of Abuja said the improved packaging of tomatoes will make it more attractive to buyers and even qualify Nigerian tomatoes for export.
“Packaging increases the value of every item including food items like vegetables. The crates should be in different sizes to take care of everyone’s need. For long I have been complaining of how tomato sellers display it on the ground in our markets across the country,” she said.
Musa Mohammed who transports tomatoes to the southern part of the country said most of the tomatoes packaged in baskets do not last more than two days before they start getting rotten because of the way they get compressed.
“When they are packaged in crates, only the crates will sit on crates. The tomatoes in the crates will not be pressed and that way they can last long. Government should introduce this packaging to give tomatoes a befitting handling,” he said.
Local tomatoes packed in baskets
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